‘Everything that is excellent will come when the sleeping soul is aroused to self-conscious activity’ – Swami Vivekananda.
Devanand – 31st batch – Guest Care – 98866-36900
Devanand’s was by far the lengthiest student interview I’ve had. There were segments in the 35-minute conversation, which was all in clear, chaste English, where I felt I was listening to a motivational speaker. Devanand was an epitome of confidence and clarity of thought. His choice of words and the vocal intonation was so soothing, his thoughts so positive!
I even told him to consider counselling students, to which he very enthusiastically responded, “Everything I am today is because of Unnati. I am a beneficiary and it is my duty to give back to the organization that shaped me so well”.
It is next to impossible to imagine that this is the same person who had attempted, 4 times in the past, to end his life!
Devanand hails from the Chitoor district of Andhra. His father is a farmer with around 3 acres of cultivable land, and that was the only source of income for the family of 4. That income was also highly dependent on the rains & farm produce, which meant that it was not regular. Poverty hit them hard. They could only eat one meal a day on many days, and he had only two shirts and a pair of trousers back then.
Devanand says his parents and his sister are loving people. Even in dire poverty, Devanand’s father wanted him to continue his education. He was sent off to the Ramakrishna Mission school near Madanapalli to complete his schooling. Thereafter, he went to Hyderabad to complete a Bachelors Fine Arts degree in Visual Effects.
Devanand was called for an interview to a studio in Mumbai after he finished his degree. He could not attend on time since he missed the train. And when he actually went there, he was turned away since he couldn’t be trusted with time-sensitive projects. That was a huge setback in his professional life!
Back in Hyderabad, he took a job in a small-time studio, but couldn’t continue there also for long since he had health issues. His health forced him to return home, and once he recovered fully (which took him 18 months), nobody was willing to give him a job either because of the 18-month break, or because they did not think he’d be able to work hard, given his past ailment.
At this critical point of his life, Devanand’s friend told him about a “self-empowering” institute that could help him. Devanand’s joy knew no bounds. He immediately came to Unnati, the institution that his friend suggested. At Unnati also, there was some initial doubts about admitting him since he was “over qualified” for any placements that Unnati could offer. But he was admitted into the course. Devanand today is very thankful to Ravikumar Sir & Radhika Ma’am of Unnati for having given him the chance & the admission into the 31st batch.
Devanand has so much to say about Unnati. He says Unnati organized & prioritized his talents, his career choices and his outlook to life. Unnati has taught him to be a confident communicator, to be punctual, to be self-disciplined, to be respectful, to be humble and polite, and above all, to be a great human being!
After completing the course, Devanand was given a job in the Housekeeping department of Taj Vivanta. In a month his manager at Taj found out that Devanand had to do much bigger things than housekeeping at the Taj. So he quit the Taj and was looking for other jobs.
Here’s where the “think outside the box” training of Unnati helped Devanand. He thought of his strengths and put together a resume highlighting all of those, exactly the way Unnati taught him.
Devanand then landed himself a marketing job at Strategic Outsourcing Services in Bangalore. He started at Rs. 84,000 an annum 3 years ago, and today, takes home a huge Rs. 3.6 Lakhs an annum.
He is very happy at his work, his employers are happy, his family is happy and so is his society. He funded his sister’s education and she is now a nutritionist in a leading hospital in Secundrabad. He also funds the education needs (in part or whole) for his extended family. Even 7 years ago, his family would get a second meal of the day only if they visited a relative’s house. Today, he feeds and funds people. Devanand is very sincere when he mentions that this is his family’s ‘reincarnation’, thanks solely to Unnati.
He has referred 4 students so far, and will refer many more. He says he’ll spread the word about Unnati wherever he goes, and help expand the network of students. He feels that every deserving Indian youth should be benefited by this program which creates more responsible, self-empowered, disciplined citizens.
Devanand dreams of a Master’s degree in film-making from Vancouver University, a dream which couldn’t be dreamt of before he joined Unnati. He has started preparing to make that dream come true.
The team at Unnati, which Devanand claims is his ‘guiding light at all times’, is very proud of a student like him and wishes him the very best in his pursuit of excellence!
Contribution by Volunteer Sukanya Kuppuswamy